Turning Adversity Into Opportunity
Shah’s unwavering focus on two of his largest stakeholders, farmers and consumers, has made Parag a premier dairy brand today
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Parag Milk Foods, founded in 1992, is one of India’s elite private sector dairy company, with a diverse portfolio in over 15 consumer-centric product categories. Devendra Shah, founder of Parag told BW Businessworld, “We pride ourselves for providing the best global source of expertise and scientific knowledge in support of the development and promotion of quality cow milk and milk products to offer consumers nutrition, health and well-being.”
Back in 1992, Shah founded Parag with the vision of adding value to people’s life. Those days there was a glut in milk production which led to the co-operatives declaring milk holidays around Pune. Shah stepped in to help the farmers in distress by collecting milk from them on milk holidays, thus giving birth to Parag.
Parag, which has been growing at over 20 per cent on a year-on-year basis, aims to achieve a turnover of Rs 2,700-3,000 crore by 2020. As of March 2018, its revenue was Rs 1,955 crore. Nearly 80 per cent of its revenues come from value-added products and the remaining 20 per cent comes from the liquid milk business.
“We aim to identify, elaborate and disseminate best practices at all our infrastructures including dairy farms which is set on global standards, a modern fully automated cheese plant with a state of the art technology, a ghee plant with traditional way of making ghee like made at home and an UHT milk processing plant using the best equipment from the leading plant equipment manufacturer,” said Shah, elaborating on the success of Parag’s various brands.
In his role as Chairman, he strives to conduct the business in a manner that enhances productivity, employee wellness and farmer livelihood.
Shah is an advocate for the use of technology in the core business and firmly believes that it can significantly enhance productivity. From his travels abroad, he has brought back and applied various technological and product innovation techniques.
His out-of-the-box approach has lead Parag Milk Foods to build India’s largest cow dairy farm with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. The innovation of Go Cheese as a brand with 60-plus variants, including the much-loved chocolate cheese in India, is entirely led by him.
In addition to business productivity, Shah also considers employee wellness as a significant factor. At Parag’s farms and facilities, employee safety is sacrosanct while emphasising on international standards of compliance. In addition to this, various health and wellness initiatives such as fitness camps, regular health check-ups, etc. are conducted throughout the year.
Under his leadership, Parag Milk Foods has also achieved another milestone by launching its farm-to-home premium milk brand Pride of Cows in Singapore. Commenting on the occasion, Shah said, “A typical Pride of Cows consumer has an evolved taste preference and is brand as well as health conscious. With an abundance of such consumers in Singapore, we have identified a huge opportunity for expansion there.”
Being in the dairy and FMCG industry, Parag deals with tens of thousands of farmers daily, and from the very beginning it has been Shah’s priority to enhance the livelihood of farmers and impact change at the societal level.
Shah is the visionary leader. His ability to think long-term has enabled Parag Milk Foods to become one of India’s largest private dairy companies.